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Women's Health Month: Fibroids treated with robotic myomectomy at Kaiser Permanente

Posted at 4:37 PM, May 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-24 19:40:17-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Fibroids are the most common benign tumor in a woman's reproductive tract.

It's so common that one in ten white women get them, but that number jumps to one in four for black women.

Inside Kaiser Permanente, the removal surgery is not your typical myomectomy.

“I got my fibroids removed eight weeks ago. March 27, 2023," said Tamika Lopez, patient.

Lopez underwent a robotic myomectomy to remove the fibroids she found about 10 years ago when she had a miscarriage.

"They started off really, really small, and 10 years later when I discovered I was having problems with them. They were the size of small grapefruits, large oranges," said Lopez.

Tamika had 18 fibroids causing her pain.

Symptoms include heavy bleeding, hemorrhaging, pelvic pain, and urinary urgency, according to Kaiser Permanente.

Fibroids can grow to twice the size of melons.

"We're still able to remove these with small incisions and send people home the same day. The most number I've ever taken out was actually 44," said Dr. Meredith McMullen, OB/GYN.

Dr. Meredith McMullen participated in a fellowship that led to her being one of a few doctors at Kaiser Permanente that perform less invasive surgery.

She said it feels amazing to be behind the controls that give her four arms instead of two and 10x the magnification than regular surgery.

"Decades ago, a lot of women presented with these symptoms and were found to have these very large tumors, and they were told your only option is a hysterectomy," said Dr. McMullen.

Myomectomy procedures allow women to still have kids, but robotic surgery offers women a faster recovery time.

It only took Lopez three weeks to get back to work and be fully functional.

"I feel amazing. My energy levels have come back," she said. "I don’t suffer extreme pelvic pressure and pain. I’m actually able to sleep the entire night."